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Monday, September 19, 2011

1 Fruit, 2 Meals: Garden Fresh Tomato Recipes ~ Spaghetti Sauce and Minestrone

Okay, so I totally wasn't thinking about taking pictures while I was making these dinners, but I promise they are yummy!!!!

Earlier in the summer, my mother in law planted a few tomato plants that have been very kind to us! We've made tons of yummy salsa. But with this last harvest we decided to make something a little different ~ spaghetti sauce. We had tons left over, so on day 2 I used it to make super yummy minestrone.

What You'll Need For Day One:
20-30 Medium Sized Garden Fresh Tomatoes
1 chopped onion
2 Tbs Chopped Onion [I think its like 1 med-large clove fresh]
3-4 Bell Peppers [Red, Yellow and Orange are sweeter than Green]
Olive Oil
Fresh Basil
Fresh Rosemary
2 Small Cans of Tomato Paste
Salt & Black Pepper
8 quart pot (like for cooking noodles)
13 in fry pan
1 large bowl filled with ice water
Food Chopper or Blender

Start by bringing water to boil in your large pot and filling your bowl with ice water. While you're waiting for the water to boil, dice your onion and peppers. If you squeeze fresh lemon juice on the board before you cut, and make sure your knife is sharp you won't have a cry fest wile chopping. I learned this while working in a kitchen and it is the best kept secret! Its also good for cutting hot peppers. Anyways, put the onions and peppers in the fry pan with the garlic and about 2-3 Tbs of olive oil over medium heat.

Next, wash all your tomatoes, then once the water is boiling drop them into the water for about a minute. Spoon them out of the pan into the ice water and the skins will pretty much fall off. After I learned this technique it really made me question all those commercials for steak knife that cut concrete then slice the skin off a tomato, hmmmm. . . .

Anyways, after you get the skins off, cut the part where the stem was [the belly button?] off. Quarter them and put them in your food chopper/processor or blender until they are juice. Save 4-5 to dice if you like a chunkier sauce.

Wash your pot out, fill water then bring to a boil and add your noodles with some olive oil to help them not stick together.

After you finish with the tomatoes and noodles, wash your basil and rosemary then toss it in the food chopper with a sprinkle of olive oil. You may have to stop and push the contents down to get to the right consistency. If you are using dry ingredients, I would use probably 2-3 Tbs of each. Put into your sauce pan and add the cans of tomato paste. Add about 1-2 tsp salt and 1-2 tbs of black pepper. Sorry I usually just eye-ball things when I cook. Its so much more forgiving than baking! ;)

Stir the noodles and sauce every few minutes, until noodles are ready, then rinse em and serve!!!

What You'll Need For Day 2:
Leftovers From Day 1
[there should be about 2 1/2 - 3 cups]
1 Package Noodles
[I used alphabets from Trader Joes, but shells, spirals or mac would work too]
1/2 Bag Baby Carrots [chopped into thirds]
6-8 Skinned & Cut Medium Sized Red Potatoes
1 Can No-Salt Added Peas
1 Can Pinto Beans
1 Can White Kidney Beans
3 Bay leafs
8 Quart Pot
4-6 Quart Pot

For this meal, you'll want to skin, wash and cut your potatoes. I cut them in half, then thirds. Chop your baby carrots into thirds or quarters then add both veggies to the pot and cover with water. Bring water line to 3-4 inches over your veggies.

In your smaller pot, cook your noodles with some olive oil so they don't stick together. The veggies and noodle should be done around the same time. You'll leave the veggies in the water, but drain and rinse the noodles; then, add them to the large pot and reduce heat to low-medium. Rinse the peas and beans then add to the pot as well.

Dump your left over sauce into the pot, add a little more salt & pepper and some dry rosemary, basil, oregano and thyme. Again, sorry I just eyeballed everything, so its probably a couple of tablespoons of everything. I also added some garlic salt. Add 3 bay leafs and simmer your soup for about 20 more minutes. This well let the flavor set in and thicken the sauce a little. You can add a little more water if you like more broth. The pot was about 4 inches from the top, so it was plenty to go around!

When your soup has simmered, fish out the bay leafs so nobody eat them. They are only good for adding flavor. Dish up and enjoy. We added some Parmesan cheese and it was super yummy. I have been doing really good with my vegan diet, so I allowed myself this cheat and it was sooooooooo worth it!! My favorite part of these meals is that most of the ingredients are fresh! Fresh ingredients taste so much better!!!

After we fed 4 adults, one 9 year old and a second helping to my husband, we still had about 1/2 a pot left so I filled a gallon sized ziplock to the brim and froze it for a night that nobody fill like cooking. I love that from one tomato harvest we had dinner for 3 nights!!

Anyways, next time I make something uber yummy like this I will remember to take pictures I promise!! In the mean time forgive me this time please :)


  1. I am soooo glad you posted! I have been trying but not succeeding! What a yummy recipe! I couldn't believe how welll those tomato plants were growing! Thank you Shan!

  2. I feel like a slacker for not getting more up! I have 2 more that I am working on, so soon I should have them up :)